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Customer Review

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I'm a princess and I get what I want!", 13 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Diana [DVD] (DVD)
"Diana" (2013 release from the UK; 113 min.) brings the last 2 years in the life of Diana, Princess of Wales. As the movie opens, we see Diana (played by Naomi Watts) getting ready in the Ritz Hotel in Paris, on that infamous day of August 31, 1997. Then the movie jumps back 2 years earlier. Diana and Charles are living separate lives. We see Diana in sweatpants and unhappy (and alone) at her London residence). By chance Diana meets Hasnat Khan, a Pakistani heart surgeon (played by Naveen Andrews). It isn't before long that Diana and Khan are falling for each other, and must go to extraordinary measures to keep this a secret from the press and from the world. Khan tells Diana about his passion for football (a/k/a soccer) and jazz, and at one point Diana even dons a black wig and the two go to a jazz club in London, where Diana has the time of her life. To tell you more of the 'plot' would be pointless.

Several comments: this movie has been universally panned by the critics, and it obviously has not done well at the box office either (more on that later), so I must admit I had some doubts about seeing this, but given that Naomi Watts was playing Diana, I took a chance on this. As it turns out, I quite enjoyed this movie! I have no idea whether the events between Diana and Kahn as depicted in this movie are accurate or whether some of them even happened at all (did the two of them really snuck out of London in Diana's butler's car and took a trip to the cliffs of Dover?). But in the end, the details are not what matter, in the sense that this movie gives a great glimpse into the utter loneliness that surrounds Diana when she is not out in the public (the movie restages a number of iconic moments from those last 2 years, including the infamous "Queen of Hearts" interview with the BBC in November ;95, the trip to Angola to meet landmine victims, etc.). Besides the loneliness, Diana also comes across as insecure and sometimes childish (at one point when arguing with Khan, she yells out "I'm a princess and I get what I want!"), so this movie is not just a one-directional flattering image of Diana. And then there is the non-stop haunting by the press, in particular the paparazzi photographers. It is so relentless, one cannot even begin to imagine what it really must have been like to live in the limelight like that. The last 30 min. of the movie (about Diana and Dodi Fayed) are painful to watch, as by then her life has become a complete circus, in fact more like a Greek tragedy, the ending of which we all know. This movie was capably directed by German director Oliver Hirschbiegel (best known for that Hitler movie "The Downfall" some years ago). But the true star of the movie is of course Naomi Watts, who took a big professional gamble when she agreed to take on the role of such an iconic figure. She pulls it off brilliantly in my opinion, and this is another Oscar nomination-worthy performance.

"Diana" opened on 2 screens for all of Greater Cincinnati (Ohio) this past weekend, and given the negative buzz around this movie, I figured this would not be playing long so I went to see it today. The screening I saw this at was unfortunately not well attended. It's a shame, as this movie for me turned out to be a pleasant surprise, even if the subject matter is not a happy one (you won't walk out of this thinking "that was a jolly good time!"). Bottom line: "Diana" is definitely worth checking out, be it in the theatre or on DVD/Blu-ray.
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Location: Cincinnati

Top Reviewer Ranking: 323